Newsletter of the District of Asia

 July - December 2006

Our Lady of Quito
Queen of Ecuador
1906 – 2006

(First English translation, by Fr. Paul Kimball SSPX, of
La Dolorosa de Quito, Reina del Ecuador,
with authorization of the publisher, Libreria Espiritual, Quito)

Part 1

We are going to relate a prodigious event that occurred on April 20th, 1906 in the capital of Ecuador, and which the ecclesiastical authorities, after meticulous examination, declared to be a miracle. But before, for a better understanding of this, we recall the historical circumstances.

Our Lady of Quito

Ecuador was the first nation that officially consecrated itself to the Sacred Heart of Jesus on March 25, 1874 and on August 6, 1892 to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

In the solemn consecration of 1874, read by the very important representative of the Church, Archbishop Checa y Barba, and afterwards by the president of the nation, García Moreno, was sealed an irrevocable pact: “Prostrate before your divine presence, all the public powers of the Church and of the State offer and consecrate to Thee now and for always the republic of Ecuador as Thy exclusive possession and property.”1 The pact was sealed with the blood of the president, assassinated on August 6, 1875, the First Friday, in the same church of the consecration and the same day on which he had noted in his spiritual diary: “Lord Jesus, show me what it is that I ought to do today for Thy love.” Also in the same church, on Good Friday of 1877 the Archbishop was poisoned to death.

At the death of Garcia Moreno a moderate liberal, Antonio Borrero, was elected, but General Veintimilla, an extreme liberal, who was defeated in 1883, rebelled. There was a moderately lawful era until 1895. Then, an extreme liberal, General Eloy Alfaro rebelled, and remained in power for twenty years taking part in revolutions. He was a dictator from 1895 to 1901 and from 1906 to 1911 thanks to another revolution. Finally he returned to rebel against his successor in 1911, but was defeated and lynched in 1912. General Leónidas Plaza, a companion of the former, governed from 1901 to 1905, and returned to power in 1912-1916 by another rebellion… and so the countless rebellions continued.

forty boysforty boys

The forty boys who were the witnesses
of the movement of the eyes in the picture of Our Lady of Quito,
with the Father Prefect (or head of discipline), Andrew Roesch,
and Brother Assistant Supervisor, Louis Alberdi.
Seated next to the priest and brother are three eleven year old boys,
who on Holy Thursday of the previous week had made their First Communion:
James Chávez, Charles Herrman, and Peter Donoso
and were the first ones to notice the prodigy.

In 1895 General Alfaro “a model of infamy” promised Pope Leo XIII to maintain harmony with the Vatican, but in the following year he broke the Concordat. He expelled the Jesuits from the Amazon region, where they had founded 152 villages. He forbade the establishment of new religious congregations in the country.

In 1900 the Ecuadorian Congress decreed the secularization of convents. It restricted the freedom of teaching, and the colleges were unable to give examinations. In the state schools it suppressed the teaching of religion. It revoked the decree of the National Consecration to the Sacred Heart.

In 1901 the government seized part of Saint Gabriel’s College from the Jesuits. The following year General Plaza established civil marriage and divorce. In 1904 he forbade novitiates, and deprived the religious institutions of their goods, the slogan being: “Independence from Spain, independence from Rome.”2 In 1906, Alfaro reached the point of a complete rupture with the Church. He forbade Bishop Riera, the consecrated bishop of Portoviejo, to enter into his diocese. The constant persecution forced the number of students in Saint Gabriel’s College to be reduced from 400 to 150. Not content with this, a decree was already prepared, to expel the Jesuits from the college they were operating since 1862, and it was one of the few Catholic colleges that remained. (It is the usual hellish technique: the best way to de-Christianize a country is to prevent its youth from receiving a Catholic education and formation).

Intervention of the Virgin

The Virgin chose the same college dedicated to one of the Archangels: Saint Gabriel.

The place was the dining hall of the boarding students, 72 feet (lessened by a partition to 43 feet) by 23 feet, on the first floor of the college.

The picture, a color oleograph3 (20 inches long by 16 inches wide) of the Sorrowful Heart of Mary (Our Lady of Sorrows with her heart pieced with seven swords), printed in France. The Jesuits had purchased three of these from a traveling salesman, and one of them was placed in the dining hall, on the right side as one enters, six feet from the floor. Between it and the floor was a bench 16 inches high. The picture was one of the many pictures in the college.

Our Lady of Quito

The miraculous picture is escorted by the present student of the College of St. Gabriel
to be solemnly placed above the main altar of the Compañia,
the Jesuit church adjacent to the old College of St. Gabriel where the miracle took place,
after having been brought throughout all Ecuador with a procession in each city.

The time: 8 o’clock at night on April 20th, 1906, Easter Friday.

The persons: 35 boarding students, aged between 11 and 17 years old, coming from every region of Ecuador: the Father Prefect (or head of discipline), Andrew Roesch, a Frenchman; the Brother Assistant Supervisor, Louis Alberdi, a Spaniard; and three employees. (The rector of the College was Father Andrew Machado of Cuenca, Ecuador, who would later become the bishop of Guayaquil).

Because it was the Easter vacation, the students had returned that day tired from an excursion. After a short period of study, they were brought to the two large tables of the dining hall that ran parallel to the side walls, for supper. Near the end of the meal the Father Prefect arrived and gave the “Deo gratias” (permission to speak, in place of listening to a reading), and told them the news of the terrible earthquake that had occurred on the 18th of the month in San Francisco, California. The students of the College were very familiar with this type of tragedy, as earthquakes are not uncommon in Ecuador.

The children were chatting with one another. In front of the picture of Our Lady of Quito there were three eleven year old boys, who on Holy Thursday of the previous week had made their First Communion: James Chávez, Charles Herrman, and Peter Donoso. Struck by the news of the devastation in California, Chavéz was saying that he would like to die in an earthquake, after receiving Holy Communion. Father Prefect called Donoso to his table. Herrman remained with Chavéz, who was looking at the Virgin, when… But let us ask him himself what happened next.

“We finished taking coffee, the Brother Alberdi came and told us about the earthquake in California and we began to speak about the Virgin. I said that the seven swords were driven in by our sins; and I looked at her, and she was moving her eyelids; and I thought that it was my imagination. The other boy looked afterwards and said to me, ‘Look at the Virgin,’ and we kept looking.

“Seeing what was happening we knelt down; we prayed an Our Father and a Hail Mary. We were looking at what was happening; I called Peter Donoso saying: ‘Come and you will see this funny thing.’ I called him three times. She [the Virgin] was moving her eyes, the left one and afterwards the right one; the first time she was moving them a little more quickly. After a repetition of two or three times she was closing both.” This was the response of elevenyear- old Charles Herrman, in the canonical process. Let us also read that of his companion, Chávez:

“When we finished eating we said, Deo gratias, and we were speaking about the Virgin and the Father Prefect called one of the boys to the other table, and two of us remained alone. And then I looked upwards, and I saw that the eyes of the Virgin were beginning to tremble like someone who is in agony, and seeing this I said to the other boy, ‘Let us pray an Our Father and a Hail Mary,’ and we knelt down. Then we sat down again. And looking at what was happening, we informed the others and some of them came. Then we went to get the Father Prefect, but he did not want to come. Afterwards we went to get him again and he came, but he did not want to believe at all. And Brother Alberdi stood in the middle and said, “It is certain,” but he [the Father Prefect] still did not want to believe, until all the boys were repeating at the same time: ‘Now she opens, now she closes!’ After a quarter of an hour the bell rang for us to go to the chapel before the incident ceased.”

And so it began. In fact, Donoso who was in the group of the Father Prefect, when his friend Hermann came running to get him, paid no attention to him. The other boy had to invite him three times before he would get up and go: “I went over,” Donoso relates, “and I saw the eyes of the Virgin moving; and I covered my eyes so as not to see, out of fear, and I went another time where Father Roesch…”

Naturally, the priest did not at all believe that the Virgin was moving her eyes; nor did he change his mind. How was he going to believe this sort of thing from boys? Brother Alberdi declared in the process, “One of the boys of the first tables came to tell us that the Virgin was moving her eyes; and we went closer coldly and with little enthusiasm, as least speaking for myself.”

Likewise the other boys were stubborn in not believing or going closer, and they delayed for about a quarter of an hour. Many did this, as they later declared: “Although we did not believe, and we continued our conversation, since everyone was getting up we went to see out of curiosity.” Another testified: “Upon receiving the news it made no impression upon me, and I even laughed, but curiosity got the best of me and I got closer to the Virgin.” And another relates: “When we heard it said that the Virgin was opening and closing her eyes, we went with the intention of making a joke out of what they were saying. Almost all of us did not care about it. I went, but to make fun, and while shoving the others who were coming with me.”

The Prefect, Father Roesch, declared in his turn: “With great insistence another boy came to urge me to go to see what was happening. At first I refused what they asked saying that he should stop the nonsense, because it seemed to me to be an illusion of the boys; but finally, because of the urging and the calling by all those who were witnessing the prodigy, I went over to the table that was located closest to the picture, with the resolution formed of dispelling the notion. I verified with much determination that the electric lights were not moving, or if some beam was reflecting on the image; none of this appeared.

“Standing in front of the image surrounded by the children, I fixed my eyes on her, without blinking, and I observed that the Most Holy Virgin was slowly closing her eyes; but still not believing that I was certain, I left the place. The Brother, who was more certain than I, seeing this, said to me, amazed at what was happening, “But Father, what if this is a miracle? What if this is a miracle…” I returned again to the spot where I previously was; then I felt a coldness that chilled my body, while seeing, without any possible doubt, that the picture was actually closing and opening its eyes. When this was happening all the children that were watching the prodigy were crying out with one voice, ‘Now she closes; now she opens; now the left.’ But it should be noted that at times she was closing only the left eye or at least more clearly than the right, since it appeared to be more closed. The prodigy repeated itself several times and lasted a little more or less than fifteen minutes. It ceased when, seeing that it was already very late for the night prayers, and always fearing to give too much attention, I gave the signal for the students to retire; which they did very much to their regret, since they wanted to kneel and pray. I forbade any noise that would cause a disturbance, since it seemed to me that if the prodigy was miraculous the witnesses would not be lacking to prove it. At first I believed it to be an illusion, and afterwards I was seen going away still without giving credit. Urged again by the Brother, I returned, and the blinking was so evident to me, that it gave me the feeling of a chill, and I remain in this conviction.”

As can be seen, they all were incredulous at the beginning. The first one who said that he saw the miracle, Charles Hermann, did not believe his eyes, for which reason neither did he make any comment to his companion, James Chávez. The latter was the first that told someone else about it.

Father Roesch not only was incredulous, he feared being influenced by the extraordinary and, incomprehensibly—it proves his objectivity—, he gave the signal to go to the chapel to pray the rosary when the Virgin was continuing to open and close her eyes. And when Brother Herman Alberdi suggested to him: “Let us take the picture of the Virgin to the chapel so that we can pray the rosary in front of her,” he did not consent. Likewise he neither permitted a boy, determined to inform the Father Rector, to do it. Even more, he told the students not to say anything to anyone.

Nevertheless, as soon as they left the dining hall, immediately the news spread throughout the house. Some priests did not refrain from coming to the dining hall, but nothing extraordinary happened. The picture of the Sorrowful Virgin, with her heart transpierced, had the same eyes as always. The phenomenon had ceased, or had it really?

1.Cf. the famous indulgenced prayer written by Father Nicola Zucchi S.J. (†1670): “My Queen! My Mother! I give thee all myself, and, to show my devotion to thee, I consecrate to thee my eyes, my ears, my mouth, my heart, my entire self. Wherefore, O loving Mother, as I am thine own, keep me, defend me, as thy property and possession. Amen.”

These words would be later incorporated into the Prayer of Total Consecration by St. Maximilian Kolbe: “O Immaculata, Queen of Heaven and earth, refuge of sinners and our most loving Mother, God has willed to entrust the entire order of mercy to thee. I, N___, a repentant sinner, cast myself at thy feet humbly imploring thee to take me with all that I am and have, wholly to thyself as thy possession and property. Please make of me, of all my powers of soul and body, of my whole life, death and eternity, whatever most pleases thee. If it pleases thee, use all that I am and have without reserve, wholly to accomplish what was said of thee: ‘She will crush your head,’ and, ‘Thou alone have destroyed all heresies in the whole world.’

“Let me be a fit instrument in thine Immaculate and merciful hands for introducing and increasing the maximum in all the many strayed and indifferent souls, and thus help extend as far as possible the blessed Kingdom of the most Sacred Heart of Jesus. For wherever thou enters, one obtains the grace of conversion and growth in holiness, since it is through thy hands that all graces come to us from the most Sacred Heart of Jesus.”

2. It is a key phrase for understanding the hidden conspiracies that direct history. The attack on the Church, Christ’s kingdom, an attack directed without ceasing by the prince of this world (“the two standards,” following St. Ignatius, in the perpetual battle), has reached in the last centuries the main political powers that favored the Church: the Spanish empire, the Austrian-Hungarian empire (World War I), the French and the Portuguese colonial empire (World War II)… —thus dealing a hard blow to the Catholic missions. The consequences have been terrible.

Which are the hidden hands? Today it will be above all the KGB, the Russian antichrist, which finances — without money it would be impossible— the terrorist movements and many pro-independence movements, by getting a fifth column of traitors in every country: resentful, ambitious, naïve (not without any benefit)… Since the 18th century Masonry (in its various branches) also introduced itself into Spain on this side and on the other side of the ocean, and was the great motivator of liberal anti-religious “change,” about which these same men are vainglorious and for any reason they denounced the Popes and Catholic historians. (There are many enlightening facts, e. g. the letters of Napoleon to the lodges of North America so that they stir up rebellion in the Spanish lands overseas, by exaggerating the defects of the unitary government, defects which will always be had, but whose remedy is worse than the sickness, inasmuch as the present day economic and religious sluggishness proves that united countries were the most advanced. Why will one not study history more?

Of course the takeover of power in our countries by anti-christian governments, and the consequent national decadence, is a punishment for sins. The thesis is insupportable (e. g. of Aranguren) that countries by being Catholic are more underdeveloped than Protestant countries, as if God treats His better children worse. Nor is it admissible, for the same reason, the “martyr” theory: namely that Spain bleed itself through defending Catholicism against the Protestants; it bled itself more in the Reconquest, and its fight for the Cross had as its reward an empire.

It is necessary to loudly proclaim these truths and historical criterions, in order to wake up sleeping consciences without any ideals. To eliminate the infuriating scandal that Catholic countries have submitted to anti-Catholic laws in education, the family, and worship… by a minority: that says it is defending liberty. The situation has to change, and we hope soon, when the promise of Fatima has been accomplished: “In the end my Immaculate Heart will triumph” and “Thy kingdom come” will be accomplished, with the conversion of Russia and the reunification of the Spanish peoples under Christ (“I will reign in Spain”), as a condition for carrying out our evangelical world-wide mission, to which we are called by the unmerited grace and divine predilection, through the mediation of Holy Mary.

3. An oleograph is a lithograph printed in oil colors to imitate an oil painting.


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